Recently people have been asking me what I do for fun and in many cases I have stumbled over my words wondering which of my various hobbies would be socially acceptable for the situation. Most people look at me like I am crazy when I say I don’t drink because that seems to be a hobby that most people find acceptable, I come from a family where alcoholism is a very real thing and I don’t want to risk another facet of my already addictive personality becoming activated. Granted, I may have one drink once in a while but I don’t go to bars, I don’t enjoy parties where other people are drunk; I don’t even like drunk Snapchats and text messages.
Like I said, normally I just stare at the person and want to start screaming, “I don’t do anything fun I am not really a fun person to be around!” Because I would rather sit in my office, on my laptop, with my headphones on crafting a world out of thin air or getting so lost in watching YouTube videos that I lose hours on end unintentionally. I like spending time to be with just me, I don’t like big social gatherings, I don’t like crowds, and I do not really like interacting with people that I don’t know or don’t know very well. Yes, I do suffer for social anxiety and I know that; some days it takes me hours to even leave the house and then hours after I get home going over every conversation that I had while I was out and overthinking every moment of human contact I had coming up with things that I could have said differently or responses to questions that I could have had instead of staring blankly trying to think of an answer.
This question, “what do you do for fun?” has been one that has filled me with dread on more than one occasion. Let’s reenact this shall we?
Person: “So MJ what do you do for fun?”
Me: *mind racing at 1,000 MPH* “not much, I pretty much just hang out.” And shrug.
Person: “That cannot be all you do.”
Me: *thinking* (all of the following is strictly to myself) “I like to write, I am currently figuring out how to add this conversation or situation to a book or I am crafting a world out of thin air and characters whose backstories I will have to figure out as I go. I read too much and I get really attached to fictional characters. I spend too much time trying to find happiness while watching YouTube videos, I am a huge fan of comic books, I love hockey but can’t watch it live on TV because every time I do my team loses and I think I am bad luck. I scroll through Facebook looking at the lives of people I haven’t spoken to in several years hoping that mine is better or more interesting. I scroll through Instagram and wish that I could be living the lives of some of the people I follow there. I daydream incessantly, I am thinking about on average six paintings that I want on my walls because they are my favorites. I worry that I will end up alone surrounded by dogs because I WILL be that crazy dog lady. I am in the midst of trying to figure out where I heard some snippet of a song six months ago and what gosh darn song it was. I am also busy crafting an excuse to I can get out of any social events in the next six weeks because they will all stress me out to the point of extreme exhaustion.”
Me: (What I really say) “Oh you know, I spend way too much time on the internet and I like to nap.”
This leads me to wanting to kick myself for a good hour because I don’t know how to act in social situations with pretty much anyone. If I am not comfortable with you there is a good chance that I am a very different person than to those people that I am very comfortable with.
I spend a lot of time being funny to myself, making myself laugh, and then I try to do the same thing with other people and normally it falls flat and then I recede back inside of my shell and refuse to come out until someone makes the effort to notice that I am dying on the inside.
My best friend is an angel, she understands that I would rather get food and go to a bookstore or a movie than go to a club or some sort of event with a lot of people. I would rather sit on the couch and watch superhero movies in my pajamas laughing too hard at jokes that no one else would understand.
I would rather be in an art gallery in silence surrounded by the old masters, allowing myself to breathe and take a minute to reflect on all of the choices that I have made in an environment that I do not find threatening.
I do lots of things for fun but they may be different from the people around me and sometimes it is hard to relate to people around you when you don’t have the same experiences. For example, I have friends who tell me about their wild and crazy drinking adventures and I just say “we live very different lives” because those things don’t sound fun to me.
Sometimes it’s just fun to do something that makes you happy not what others expect you to say makes you happy, because at the end of the day you have to live in your skin; no one else does.